Yesterday Alaska announced some major changes to their Mileage Plan program, many of which were positive. Generally my preference is to redeem miles for premium cabin awards, though Alaska Mileage Plan has just made many domestic redemptions extremely lucrative with their recent changes.
Alaska’s new discounted short-haul awards
One of the changes Alaska has made is that they’ve discounted short-haul award ticket costs. Specifically:
- Tickets covering a distance of under 700 miles cost 5,000 miles
- Tickets covering a distance of 701-1,400 miles cost 7,500 miles
- Tickets covering a distance of 1,401-2,100 miles cost 10,000 miles
That’s pretty awesome to begin with, though there are a few things that make this especially awesome:
- The above award costs are based on the cumulative distance of a one-way ticket, meaning that you can fly multiple segments and still qualify for one of the above discounted awards (other airlines that have discounted distance based awards typically limit you to one segment)
- Alaska Mileage Plan allows a stopover on one-way awards, including entirely domestic awards
- Award tickets on Alaska are now eligible for complimentary upgrades, so if you’re an elite member you can potentially score an upgrade on these tickets
As usual, there are also a couple of things to be aware of:
- Not all saver level award seats will be available at the above discounted prices. In other words, not all flights covering a distance of under 700 miles will cost just 5,000 miles, but rather there are capacity restrictions
- This is only valid for travel within the continental U.S. and Canada, so doesn’t include flights to Mexico, etc.
Here’s why you should be excited
This opens up some amazing opportunities to visit two destinations for just 5,000-10,000 miles. Let me give just a few examples.
For 5,000 miles you could fly from San Francisco to Portland, have a stopover for several days, and then continue from Portland to Seattle.
Or for 7,500 miles you could fly from Los Angeles to Santa Rosa, have a stopover, and then continue from Santa Rosa to Seattle.
Or for that same price you could fly from San Diego to Seattle, have a stopover, and then continue from Seattle to Vancouver.
Or for 10,000 miles you could fly from Spokane to Seattle, have a stopover, and then continue from Seattle to Anchorage.
The point is, there are a lot of opportunities with these discounted awards, especially for those on the West Coast. Paying 5,000-10,000 miles for a one-way ticket is a great deal to begin with, and it’s made even better by the ability to have a free stopover, and also upgrade if you’re an elite member.
Any other routings you guys are finding especially lucrative using this chart?
(Tip of the hat to Mommy Points)